I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten

Belated blog post* on the Rage Against the Machine/ Joe McEldery stand off for Christmas No.1. I stood rather disdainfully aloof from the whole process for a while, on the grounds that I didn’t like either song. Then something – possibly Cameron declaring for the Joe camp – prompted me to download RATM. And then I felt guilty at robbing a sweet, harmless and, let’s face it, rather pretty young lad of his dream of being No.1.

And then I actually heard 30 seconds of The Climb. (No TV for past three months means no X Factor, and yes, I know I’ve already said I didn’t like either song, but let’s just say it was an educated guess that I wouldn’t). And I heard enough to persuade me it was an abomination, and that Simon Cowell wasn’t even trying anymore. He just knew whatever he released would be bought by the bucketload. So I was quite glad I’d made my own little contribution, although I’d still think it would have been rather more radical to have mobilised behind an absolutely brilliant song by someone oozing talent. (And have to admit, I was quite pleased Joe did get to be Number 1 the next week. It’s not his fault).

Anyway… it has to be said, the noughties were a pretty dreadful decade for music, and I don’t think that’s just me getting old. OK, you can never judge the state of the music scene by which records get to No.1, but just look at the Top 10 best-selling records of the decade:

1. Will Young -Evergreen

2. Gareth Gates – Unchained Melody

3. Shaggy – Wasn’t Me

4. Tony Christie/ Peter Kay – Amarillo

5. Band Aid 20

6. Hear’Say – Pure and Simple

7. Shayne Ward – That’s my Goal

8. Kylie – Can’t Get You Out of My Head

9. Bob the Builder – Can we Fix It?

10. Atomic Kitten – Whole Again

That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? With the honourable exception of Kylie, which I accept is a classic. Not my kind of thing, but I like the Kylie -vs- Blue Monday mix. Still, at least James Blunt didn’t make it in there. Or Westlife, surprisingly, seeing how they had so many Number Ones. (There were 275 Number Ones in the Noughties, 40 of which were in the year 2000. I don’t think you had to sell many records).

I was going to do my own Top 10 of No.1s from the decade, but after skimming the list, I’d have been struggling…. yes, Independent Woman, Rise and I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ are good pop songs, but more the sort of song you’d sing along to if they came on the radio than the sort of thing you’d select on the iPod. Instead let’s just give honourable mentions to some excellent tracks that did make it into the higher chart rankings and demonstrated that not all was lost, like Franz Ferdinand with Take me Out, Arctic Monkeys with I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, Eminem with Stan… Album of the decade for me was The Libertines’ Up the Bracket. Let’s hope Pete Doherty gets his act together in 2010.

Also looking forward to seeing Pavement playing Brixton in May, and am definitely going to see 2 Many DJs at one of the many festivals over the summer. And maybe the Flaming Lips, as it’s been ages. That’s the plan anyway. Would be nice to find something else to get excited about… (And if my niece Caiti is reading, no, that doesn’t mean the Jonas Brothers!)

*OK, explanation required. I did a rough draft of this on 6th December in that I pasted into the blog the list of the Top Ten from the past decade, for future reference. Obviously the rest of the post was completely some time later, on Jan 1st 2010 in fact. Try as I might – i.e. changing the date under post options to 01/01/10 I can’t get it to publish as anything but a 6th December post. And I can’t follow usual practice of cutting and pasting into a new blog post either, as Blogger seems to have stopped allowing me to paste content. All very annoying!

PS Typical – I go to the trouble of typing an explanation and now it’s working (that was after about twenty attempts!)

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